USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card Review
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This USAA members-only card has a few niche perks for servicemembers. Otherwise, it’s an average 1.5% cashback card minus any sign-up incentives.
The provisions and perks that come with the USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card are really bangin for servicemembers. But don’t let a case of the FOMOs ruin your day if you’re not in the ranks and ineligible to apply. There are other cashback cards with similar — superior, even — benefits for the layfolk, too. But if your heart is set on a USAA credit card, the rewards setup on the USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express is worth a look.
The basics: The USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card pays 1.5% cash back on purchases, no category restrictions. Get a 0% intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers and convenience checks that post to your account within 90 days of account opening.
USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card pros and cons
- 1.5% unlimited cashback on all purchases
- Yes, all purchases
- Rewards redeemable after you’ve earned $1
- No annual fee
- No foreign transaction fee
- Requires USAA membership
- No sign-up bonus
- No balance transfer promotion or 0% intro APR on purchases
USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card cashback rewards spending categories
The following table shows the cashback rewards rate per $1 spent in the six most common spending categories. The “Bonus Rate” refers to the amount you can earn in excess of the card’s standard rewards rate.
Some cashback cards limit the spending amount eligible for the bonus rate (a.k.a. the “Spend Cap”). Once you hit that cap (e.g. $1,500 spending in a particular category during a defined time period), the rewards rate on future purchases in that category reverts to the lower “Default Rate.”
|Category||Default Rate||Bonus Rate||Bonus Spend Cap||Bonus Spend Period (Months)|
What we like
No earnings limits. No categories to track. No annual fees to pay. Simply get 1.5% cash back on all qualifying purchases (read: everything).
Rewards are redeemable at any time and for any amount after you’ve earned at least $1 in cash back.
The 3% cash advance fee is waived if you transfer funds electronically to a USAA deposit account. That’ll save you a few bucks.
The fact that there’s no foreign transaction fee makes sense, especially for a customer base with the potential to be deployed.
Benefits include trip cancellation and interruption insurance, travel accident insurance, emergency assistance, concierge services, and more.
Reward redemption options are plentiful. In addition to using rewards for a statement credit or having it electronically deposited to an eligible USAA account, the USAA Rewards Center lets you apply the money toward the purchase of travel accommodations, merchandise and gift cards, or make a charitable contribution to a participating charity.
Perk alert for active duty servicemembers: You may qualify for an ultra-low 4% interest rate on your USAA credit card balances. That’s even lower than the 6% available if you’re covered under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act and state military bennies.
What we don't like
Eligibility to even apply for the card is based on your or a family member’s current or former military service, or your relationship to a current USAA member.
Sorry, there’s no sign-up bonus or 0% introductory APR on new purchases.
The card is only offered to USAA members. Membership is limited to active or former military and their spouses and adult children.
The tradeoff between simplicity (a flat-rate cashback card like this) and complexity (rotating rewards categories and whatnot) is the opportunity for a higher potential payoff (with another cashback card).
The bottom line
Is the USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card the best rewards card for your wallet? The answer depends entirely on your spending patterns. Let the numbers speak for themselves: Use the investor.com Cashback Credit Card Calculator to see which credit card pays back the highest rewards based on how much you spend each month.
USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card fine print
Does the USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card charge an annual fee?
No, there is no annual fee for the USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card.
Roughly 14% of the consumer cashback cards we track in our database charge an annual fee. The average annual fee is $72.60, while the median is $95.
Does the USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card offer a welcome bonus?
No, the USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card card does not currently offer a welcome bonus.
Of the more than 60 cashback credit cards in our database, 66% offer a welcome bonus. Currently, the average sign-up bonus on a new cashback card is $210.71, with the median being $200.
How much cash back can I earn with the USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card?
The average American that spends $1000 per month will earn $180.00 in cash back per year using the USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card. For comparison, the average annual rewards payout from the cashback credit cards in the investor.com database is $191.26, and $180 is the median.
These calculations are based on average consumer spending data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the reward payout rates from the providers we track. Of course, you’re so much more than an average data point (aka “consumer unit,” in BLS parlance). The amount you can earn in cashback rewards using the USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card depends entirely on your unique spending habits.
Find out exactly how much you’ll rake in with the USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card by tailoring the spending inputs in the calculator above.
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Compare USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card
The results of the investor.com Credit Card Rewards Calculator are based on the monthly spending amounts you enter and the annual dollar value of the rewards each credit card program pays per $1 spent. Credit card companies often express this payout amount as a percentage (e.g., 1.5% of every dollar spent) or on a points basis (e.g. ,1.5 points for every dollar spent). We converted all of them to a dollar amount (“Cash Back Per Year”) to make comparing offers easier.
To calculate the amount of cash back you could earn per year, we factored in:
- Spend category inputs: The default dollar values for each “Spend Category” in the Best Cashback Credit Cards tool — gas, groceries, travel, restaurant, entertainment, pharmacy, other — are based on average American spending data from the Consumer Expenditure Surveys from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. We also include additional spend categories (such as streaming services, online shopping, utilities, transit, Amazon and more) to help you see which rewards cards are most closely aligned with your actual spending patterns. We encourage you to customize the monthly spend inputs for the most accurate results.
- Tiered rewards rates: If a rewards credit card pays higher cashback rates on certain spending categories (also called “Bonus Rewards”), that difference is reflected in the total “Cash Back Per Year” tally.
- Rewards spending caps: Some cards impose category- or time-based limits (monthly, quarterly, annually) that affect the amount of rewards you can earn. For example, a card may pay 3% cash back on groceries on up to $1,000 of spending each quarter, then revert to the base/default rewards rate until the following quarter. We accounted for bonus spending caps and timeframe in the calculations.
- Default rewards rates: Purchases that exceed a spending cap are usually subject to a lower default rewards rate (e.g., 1% or 1.5%). We mathed that out too.
- Annual fees: If a rewards card charges an annual fee, we deducted that amount from the “Cash Back Per Year” total to provide a true accounting of a card’s annual rewards payout.
What’s not included in the “Cash Back Per Year” total is the cash value of any sign-up/introductory bonus. We highlight any Welcome Bonus separately. While sign-up bonuses can be the most lucrative part of getting a new cashback rewards credit card, not everyone will want or be able to do what it takes to earn the extra cash. (It usually requires spending a certain amount in a specified time period after the card is activated.)